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Email spam is a huge problem, and one that’s not going to disappear anytime soon. Unfortunately, it’s easy for...
Email spam is a huge problem, and one that’s not going to disappear anytime soon.
Unfortunately, it’s easy for companies (and criminals) to send out huge numbers of emails at next to no cost, so they only need a very small number of people to act on them to make the exercise worthwhile.
Broadly speaking, there are two main kinds of email spam:
including special offer emails and newsletters, usually intended to persuade you to buy something. Some of this spam comes as a result of you signing up to websites or sharing your address with companies, but plenty arrives unsolicited.
including “phishing” emails that try to trick you into revealing personal details that can, in turn, be used for identity theft or other criminal purposes.
Modern email platforms and applications do a reasonably good job of identifying and separating out spam emails, often moving them automatically to a special folder marked “Junk Mail” or “Spam.” However, some spam will inevitably make it to your inbox.
Here are a few tips to help you identify and deal with spam messages, especially those that may arrive with dishonourable intentions.
The most potentially damaging spam emails pretend to come from legitimate organizations including banks and payment providers.
Often, these emails look completely genuine; they will tell you there is some kind of problem with your account and entice you to log in and confirm some details. When you click through, the site you log into will frequently seem indistinguishable from your bank’s usual website.
But, sadly, it’s easy to copy a website. What you’ve actually done is handed over your login details to some cyber criminals, as well as all the other details they asked you to confirm.
So how do you avoid this?
Look very carefully at where emails come from – often the domain name won’t look quite right.
If you get an email from a seemingly legitimate company, even if it’s one you deal with regularly, don’t click any links within it. Instead, go to your normal login page to access the company’s site.
Don’t be afraid to contact companies by phone if you’re not 100% sure of something you’ve received.
If an email, or something within it, seems strange or “spam-like,” the chances are that thousands of other people have also received a copy of it.
So copy a small string of text from the suspicious mail and paste it into Google’s search box. Most of the time, you’ll find plenty of information about the message – quite possibly on a site that reports on scams and hoaxes.
Of course, not all spam is malicious – some is simply intended to get you to part with your hard-earned cash for products and services. There may even be times when you are “spammed” with a good offer that you wish to make use of (after, of course, doing your research to ensure the company in question is legitimate!).
However, don’t assume you can stop all the spam from arriving by requesting to unsubscribe. To less scrupulous Web-marketers, this merely alerts them to the fact there is someone receiving the emails, giving them a good reason to keep them coming!